Flyfishing is nearly a year round opportunity in Eastern North Carolina. Our boats are both designed with the fly fisherman in mind and will assure you every chance to land your trophy fish. Listed below is a summary of our fishing calendar.
February, March, April, May:
Shad, both American and Hickory make spawning runs up the Roanoke, Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers. These are excellent fighting fish that will eat flies. A 5/6 wt fly rod with a 200 grain sinking line is ideal for shad. Later in the season as the water warms, the Shad move up in the water column and a floating line can be used. Catches of 50 plus fish per angler can be expected. The prime spot to fish is Weldon, N.C. located 15 miles south of the Virginia border on I-95 (see photo gallery). Early March to early April is prime time.
Striped Bass (rock fish), spawn up the Roanoke, Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers. These fish are very aggressive and bite well on clouser and popper flies. The size of the fish varies from 3 to 35lbs. Early morning and late afternoon surface feeding offers excellent top water action in early May. An 8/9wt. fly rod is ideal for the stripers. 300 to 500 grain sinking lines and floating lines are needed for striper fishing. (See photo gallery). Early April to late May is prime season on the Roanoke River.
Atlantic Bonito migrate along the Crystal Coast (Atlantic Beach) on their way north. Bonito are located on near shore wrecks in 50ft. of water when the water temperature is in the 60s. The Bonita will eat 3" chartreuse and white half and half flies. An 8 to 10wt. fly rod with a 400 to 500 grain weighted line is used to land these hard fighting little tunnies. photo gallery) Early in the morning, the bonito may chase bait on the surface and we will use floating lines.
Gray and Speckled Trout that spent the winter offshore are returning to the inlets and sounds. A weighted line around the rock jetties and inlets with a clouser fly is effective in the spring. Work the fly slowly since the water is still cold.
Redfish/Red Drum are moving back into the sound from wintering offshore. Sight fishing in shallow water or along the beaches offes a unique opportunity to test your flyfishing skills. We will pole to the fish in the Maverick flats boat back in the islands.
Dolphin (aka Mahi Mahi) will show up in May and stay through July. Off shore fishing is required to catch Dolphin (15+ miles).
Cobia- The month of May is the best opportunity for Cobia along the Crystal Coast. The fish may be found near buoys, following bait balls, free swimming on top of the water, following another Cobia to the boat. Sometimes, we can chum up Amberjack and the Cobia with be with them. If we can find the Cobia, there is a good chance they will eat a fly.
June, July, August: The summer is in full swing as the water temperature rises above 70.
Cobia migrate along the coast in May and June. They can be found around wrecks.
Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish are abundant and usually found near the inlet feeding on silversides. A 6wt. rod with 200 grain line or floating line is a good choice for these 2 to 4 lb fish. Early morning trips to near shore wrecks can produce big spanish. A minimum tippet of 20# fluorocarbon or braided wire is used for these toothy fish.
Redfish/ Red Drum will now be in the shallow flats and creeks. Sight fishing for these Tailing 18” to 30” redfish will provide the ultimate challenge. An 8 wt. rod with floating or clear intermediate lines are used with 9ft. leaders. Top water deer hair flies, spoons, shrimp and crab patterns, copperhead flies and clousers are effective. During very high tides we can see Tailing Drum up in the grass. Call or email for the best "Tailing Drum" tides from June thru October.
King Mackerel can be chummed on the wrecks and structure using a wire tippet to keep from being bit off. Big spanish and sharks can also be found here.
Amberjack can be found on offshore wrecks and reefs. These fish weigh 20+ pounds - a real challenge for fly fishers.
Dolphin (aka Mahi Mahi) will follow the weedlines offshore and will hit flies once the school is located.
September, October: The water is cooling and the bait fish are moving to the ocean.
Spanish Mackerel are bigger and feeding in or near the inlet preparing for their southerly migration south. Large spanish can also be found on the Cape Lookout shoals (see photo gallery). Spanish leave when water temperature is in the 60s. Braided wire tippets are required.
Big Bluefish are on the Cape Lookout shoals and smaller bluefish sometimes fill the inlet. Sight fishing for bigger blues with top water poppers using a floating line is a blast (see photo gallery).
False Albacore are arriving in October for the premier Albie fishing on the East Coast. Schools of Albies are chasing and feeding on bay anchovies, silversides and finger mullet in Beaufort Inlet, Cape Lookout area and on near shore reefs. A 10wt. rod with intermediate line and a good drag is needed to fight these 6 to 20lb fish. The initial run may strip you well into your backing. Don't miss this opportunity to catch this great game fish. Book your trip early for this short 45 day season.
Redfish/ Red Drum are abundant in the back islands, near the inlet and up on the flats. Sight fishing to tailing redfish is a unique opportunity. The redfish is North Carolina’s state fish and you’ll know why when you land one. Occasionally, you may hook up with a nice flounder or speckled trout that is feeding on the same bait. Call or email to check for the best tides.
Speckled and Gray Trout are starting to gather in schools. The gray trout (weakfish) are found in the deep channels and along the several rock jetties in the area. Speckled trout will be in the creeks near the inlets. The famous Cape Lookout rock jetty produces citation (4 to 7lb) trout on a lightweight 7ft. rod. A sinking line with a pink & white clouser should work. Redfish/Red Drum are now schooling up and feeding aggressively due to cooler water. The water is very clear and offers better sight fishing. The Maverick will get us close enough to cast gold spoons, jigs and tails or bait to the fish.
November, December is the prime fishing season on the Crystal Coast. The water is now clear in the sound due to temperatures in the 60's.
False Albacore False Albacore are here in big schools. Albies are chasing bait all around the boat and we are usually sight casting to pods of fish. We will try to "match the hatch" with a fly similar to the bait they are eating. Sometimes, a top water crease fly will stimulate very aggressive strikes when the Albies are feeding on schools of bait fish. Book your trip early to get the best days during the week. We'll use the 24ft. Hydra Sports with curtains to keep you dry and warm.
Speckled and Gray Trout are abundant around the jetties, in the channels and near the inlets when the water temperature drops into the mid 60's. The famous Cape Lookout rock jetty produces citation size trout (4 to 7lb) on a 8wt. rod using a 400 grain weighted line. Pink and white clousers were hot last year and shrimp patterns. Work your fly very slowly as the water cools down. You may outfish the spin fishermen.
Redfish/Red Drum are now schooling up and feeding aggressively due to cooler water. The water is very clear and offers better sight fishing. Schools of Drum move out of the sound and can be located along Shackleford Banks near Beaufort Inlet. Usually the Drum will be in the same area with Speckled Trout eating the same flies. Big schools of red drum can be found at the Cape Lookout shoals.
King Mackerel and Amberjack have moved close to shore and found in 50 to 70 ft. of water. These are strong 10 to 30lb. fish and a 10wt. rod is required. We use a 500 grain sinking line using the entire running line and a large profile fly with lots of flash for the mackerel.
Striped Bass arrive in the Drum Inlet and Cape Lookout areas by mid December if the water is in the 40s to 50s and will stay into January. These Ocean run Stripers will average 20 to 40lbs and are following large schools of Shad/Menhaden down the coast. Large profile flies on 500 grain sinking lines will get down to the fish. If the fish are on the shoals in shallow water, top water flies can be very effective. This opportunity does not happen every year due to the water temperature.